Netanyahu says ICC’s threats won’t change Israel’s approach to war

The ICC is now considering the prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants


Israeli Prime Minister and head of the Likud party Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for a Likud party meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament in Jerusalem on May 20, 2024. (Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The “scandalous” decision by the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor to request arrest warrants for Israeli leaders will not change the IDF’s approach to the war Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Monday afternoon.

“It’s a scandal—it won’t stop me or us,” Netanyahu told reporters on the sidelines of a faction meeting of his Likud Party in Jerusalem.

At the beginning of the meeting, Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana had the attending Likud lawmakers and ministers sign a formal declaration denouncing ICC chief prosecutor Karim Khan’s move.

According to Army Radio political reporter Shahar Glick, the text, which will soon be presented to all 120 members of the Knesset, states that “the scandalous comparison of the prosecutor in The Hague between Israeli leaders and the heads of the Hamas terrorist organization is an indelible historical crime and a clear expression of antisemitism.

“The IDF is the most moral army in the world. Our heroic soldiers fight with unparalleled courage and morality, in keeping with international law,” the statement continues, adding, “Eighty years after the Holocaust, no one will tie the hands of the Jewish state as it defends itself.”

In a video statement posted to his X account on Monday night, Netanyahu charged that Khan’s decision “is not only directed against the prime minister of Israel and against the minister of defense.

“It is directed against the entire State of Israel,” stated Netanyahu. “It is directed against the IDF soldiers, who are fighting with supreme heroism against the vile Hamas murderers.”

“With what audacity do you dare to make a comparison between Hamas—which murdered, burned, butchered, raped, and kidnapped our brothers and sisters—and the IDF soldiers who are fighting a just war that is unparalleled, with a morality that is unmatched?” he added.

“I repeat what I said on the eve of Yom HaShoah [Holocaust Remembrance Day] in Jerusalem. As the prime minister of Israel, I pledge that no pressure, no decision, no international forum will prevent us from striking those who seek to destroy us,” said Netanyahu.

Khan announced his move against Israel during an interview with CNN earlier on Monday. He said he will seek to try Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for “causing extermination, causing starvation as a method of war, including the denial of humanitarian relief supplies [and] deliberately targeting civilians in conflict.”

In a statement published following the CNN interview, Khan’s office said he had “reasonable grounds to believe” that Netanyahu and Gallant bear criminal responsibility for “war crimes and crimes against humanity” committed by the IDF since Hamas terrorists murdered some 1,200 people in Israel.

However, “the independent judges of the International Criminal Court are the sole arbiters as to whether the necessary standard for the issuance of warrants of arrest has been met,” the statement noted.

A panel of three justices from the ICC’s Pre-Trial Division will now consider Khan’s application for the arrest warrants.

If the court in The Hague greenlights the warrants, it would constitute an “unprecedented antisemitic hate crime,” Netanyahu warned last month after reports surfaced of Khan’s intention to apply for the warrants.

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